The United States Department of Education is one of the cabinet-level departments of the United States government. Its primary mission is to ensure that children are provided with the highest quality education. Its mission statement is “Education is a fundamental human right.”
Rep. Lamar Alexander has resigned as Secretary of Education, leaving a huge leadership void. He was a longtime education policy expert and champion of school choice. He served wide majorities in Congress. He also played the piano at political events. Lamar Alexander is a proud Tennessean. To learn more about him, read his obituary below. The Democrat served in the Senate for over two decades.
Former U.S. Education Secretary Lamar Alexander has a diverse background, having previously served as a U.S. senator, university president, and president. He helped start the nation’s largest worksite daycare provider, and he once walked 1,000 miles across Tennessee when he ran for governor of Tennessee. In addition, he helped turn the state into the nation’s third-largest auto producer and the first to pay teachers more for quality teaching. In addition to serving as a leader in education, Lamar Alexander is also an accomplished classical and country pianist and has written seven books.
While in the Senate, Lamar Alexander championed school choice and the rights of parents to make educational decisions. He also believed that attaching money to students would make K-12 education better. He supported the creation of more charter schools and favored federal aid to help create more of them. The bill is still a work in progress, but its impact is already evident. The Senate Education Committee is eager to hear about Lamar Alexander’s education record.
Among the Cabinet-level agencies, the Department of Education is relatively new. Founded in 1867, the first Department of Education was a government agency charged with collecting information on schools and teachers. Afterward, it was downgraded to the Office of Education and operated under various titles and in different agencies. Then, in 1905, President Franklin D. Roosevelt reorganized the agency as the Department of Education. Today, the Department of Education focuses on improving education at the national and international levels.
As president, Johnson sought to woo the radicals and the moderates within the Republican Party, granting political rights to African Americans. To this end, he signed an amnesty proclamation, which excluded the prosecution of fourteen classes, except war criminals, high Confederate officers, and people with the taxable property of more than $20,000 (and not the president himself). Andrew Johnson died of a stroke in 1875 and is buried in Greeneville, Tn.
Johnson’s first cabinet members included William Seward, Henry McCulloch, Edwin M. Stanton, and Attorney General Andrew Johnson. However, he was unsuccessful in bringing down the abolitionists in Congress, including Benjamin Wade, who had been a supporter of Johnson’s presidency. Aside from his ties to the Democratic Party, Johnson was also a staunch advocate of free education.
John Eaton served as a military officer during the American Civil War and was appointed by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant oversaw the establishment of 74 public schools in Tennessee. He was a colonel in the 63rd Regiment of Colored Infantry in 1863 and was promoted to brevet brigadier general in 1865. Eaton later served as the editor of the Memphis Daily Post. In 1870, Eaton became the United States Commissioner of Education and later became responsible for reorganizing the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.
Before becoming the U.S. Commissioner of Education, John Eaton served as a brevet brigadier general in the American Civil War. Eaton was born in Sutton, New Hampshire, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1854. He then served as a school principal and superintendent in Cleveland and Toledo. In 1861, Eaton attended Andover’s theological seminary and was ordained by the Maumee presbytery. In 1862, Eaton was appointed as a superintendent of contrabands. In 1865, he served as a general superintendent of freedmen in Mississippi, West Tennessee, and Louisiana. He was appointed until he died in 1865.
Eaton was a prominent educator who devoted his life to educating youth. He was a representative of the Department of the interior at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. He also served as chief of the Department of education for the New Orleans exposition, where he oversaw the establishment of an extensive exposition. Eaton was also a vice-president of the International education congress in New Orleans and Havre, France, and served as president of the World’s first education congress. He earned a Ph.D. and LL.D. from Dartmouth in 1876. He has written several reports and addresses on education and its various aspects.
Lamar Alexander’s successors
During his tenure as a senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander championed state control of K-12 schooling. He served as the ranking Republican on a committee led by Tom Harkin that reported a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or ESEA. That legislation failed to return federal control of public schools to the states, but the 113th Congress held the first hearing on NCLB reauthorization in February 2013.
Under Lamar’s leadership, public schools are often the expression of the educational priorities of a community. While external forces can inspire and influence change, a lack of local demand will inhibit the improvement of public schools. The education secretary’s political connections, including his own, play a major role in defining educational priorities. However, Lamar’s policy helped reshape the Department’s mission by influencing the direction of education policy.
In the end, Lamar Alexander’s legacy will continue to inspire his successors in the education department. Lamar was increasingly alarmed by the heavy hand of Uncle Sam, especially during the second term of President George W. Bush. He pointed to the proliferation of NCLB waivers, the Obama-Duncan Race to the Top initiative, and battles over the Common Core academic standards. He saw the country crossing a line between encouragement and federal support.
Office of Vocational and Adult Education
The Office of Vocational and Adult Ed, or OVAED, is a federal agency responsible for managing programs that support adult education, career education, and literacy. OVAED also provides leadership to strengthen community colleges nationwide and promote activities that lead to successful careers. The agency distributes more than $1.9 billion in grants annually to support adult education programs and activities. In addition to these core missions, the agency conducts regional and national research on vocational education and supports professional development for teachers and andrologists. Other duties of the agency include maintaining a central registry of vocational examinations and collecting statistics on the development of adult education.
The OVAED oversees several programs that are important to the nation’s economy. It provides basic literacy programming for inmates and assists in special education and GED preparation for those who need them. It also offers college courses to inmates who wish to obtain their GED. Aside from that, the OVAED also provides inmates with educational assessment and life skills programs. Those interested in pursuing higher education may also apply for jobs with OVAED.
Office of Student Financial Assistance Programs
The Office of Student Financial Assistance Programs (OSFA) is the federal agency responsible for managing financial aid for students. Students with financial needs can apply for financial aid and receive federal student loans. Financial aid eligibility is based on your expected family contribution (EFC) less the Cost of Attendance (COA), which includes tuition, estimated personal expenses, books and supplies, and transportation costs. You must complete the verification process before the deadline in September.
There are three main types of federal student aid. Federal student aid offers grant money, loans, and work-study programs. All aid is need-based, and the amounts of grants and loans are based on financial need. Typically, students are required to pay back loans, so it is important to qualify for both types of aid. The table below lists the types of aid programs, eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and awards.
Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs
The Office of Legislative and Congressional Relations, Department of Education, is a key resource in the educational field. They liaise between the U.S. Department of Education and the Congressional offices, respond to inquiries, and develop policies and initiatives. This office also serves as the main point of contact for education advocates. Learn more about this important office and how you can connect with them.
The Office of Legislative and Congressional Relations, Department of Education, engages with Congress, media outlets, state and local governments, and other stakeholders to represent the Department. The organization is divided into three branches: the Business Operations Branch, the Creative Services Branch, and the History Branch. All three units work closely together to promote the Department’s legislative priorities and influence education policy. This office is also responsible for developing and implementing legislative initiatives and other interests related to Congress.
The Office of Legislative and Congressional Relations oversees the Department’s legislative efforts and coordinates congressional relations. The Department provides legislative research, assists in developing legislation, and develops and analyses legislative history on various issues. The office also responds to information requests and routinely assists members of Congress with constituent inquiries. Several other departments within the Department of Education work with the Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs to advance their goals.